Tamara de Lempicka: Creativity and Biography

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Born into the Gorska family, a wealthy family in Warsaw, Poland, Tamara De lempicka was the second child out of four. She had an older brother named Stanczyk Gorski and a younger sister named Adrienne. Tamara often bossed her siblings around due to her fiery temperament.

Tamara and her siblings were raised by her father, an attorney for a French trading company, and her mother, a well-educated aristocrat. However, at the age of 12-13, the Gorska family split up. Tamara was sent to St. Petersburg, where she lived with a wealthy relative. This relative spoiled her with trips to Italy and other renaissance countries, which greatly influenced her artistic inspirations.

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Tamara, who excelled in the artistic subjects of her learning, received a well-rounded education because of her high class standing. At the age of 12, she was introduced to her first art classes, and it became clear that her strong will and dominant personality made it difficult for her to be still during sittings. However, De Lempicka was pleased with her work and she soon developed a lifelong love for art. In 1918, she studied painting at the Academe De la Grand Chaumiere and received private tutoring from Maurice Denis and Andre Lhote.

In a relatively short period of time, she gained a reputation as a portrait painter primarily depicting individuals in the upper-class social circles. Her talent caught the attention of writers, entertainers, and former aristocrats from Eastern Europe. It didn’t take long for her to gain enough expertise to showcase her artworks at the inaugural Art Deco exhibition in Paris in 1925. Around two years after her marriage and the commencement of her highly anticipated career in art, her husband Taduesz Lempicka was detained by the Bolshevik secret police. Eventually, they managed to escape and changed their surname to Lempicka. However, Taduez’s imprisonment and the changes that had taken place bitterly drove a wedge between them. Over time, she found herself living as a fugitive with minimal financial resources since her husband struggled to find employment.

Despite facing difficult times, Tamara remained determined to maintain her wealthy lifestyle, and therefore turned to art as a means of making a living. It was through her first paintings that she captured the attention of Collette Will, a prominent individual who owned numerous European galleries. In one of these galleries, many patrons were captivated by the “sensual” and provocative portraits that boldly showcased De Lempicka’s distinctive style, which combined elements of Picasso’s Cubism with Art Deco – a highly popular and admired art form during that era. This success brought immediate financial rewards and elevated De Lempicka to celebrity status within the art world, allowing her to once again enjoy a lavish lifestyle.

During the 1920s and 1930s, De Lempicka created paintings that would gain great renown. One of her most famous and highly desired works was a self-portrait titled “Tamara in the Green Bugatti,” finished in 1925, just one year after her husband Taduesz Lepicki left her in complete bankruptcy. Some of her later well-received artworks, which were part of the cubist collection, included “Die Dame” (1927), “Kizette on the balcony” (1932), and “Kizette’s first Communion” (1933). These pieces earned her numerous awards at the Exposition internationale in Posnan (Portland).

After divorcing her first husband, during the aristocratic phase of her life, she encountered a man named Baron Raoul Kuffner, who would become her next spouse. Baron Raoul Kuffner, an Austro-Hungarian, had amassed a significant collection of her artworks and commissioned Lempicka to paint a portrait of his mistress. As she became part of the family, she discovered that she was granted all that she had ever desired: a title, wealth, refinement, and most importantly, social standing.

This figurine was rapidly created as De Lempicka gained more recognition as an artist and persisted in her work. She was so renowned, in fact, that affluent monarchs would queue up to have the privilege of having their portrait painted by the renowned Tamara De Lempicka. However, as the war loomed closer, the idyllic lifestyle could not endure. With the Nazi influence spreading throughout Europe in 1939 and the wealthy faced with the threat of World War II, unemployment became widespread and the entire world was engulfed in a state of intense turmoil.

During that time, painting for wealthy individuals became less popular. Meaningful pieces resembling war efforts and everyday tragedies gained popularity in art galleries, as they were seen as a reflection of the time. These artworks were preserved as historical documents. Having experienced the consequences of war during the Russian Revolution, De Lempicka was well aware of the financial insecurity that accompanies war. Therefore, in 1943, the Kuffners decided to move to New York to avoid such circumstances. However, De Lempicka’s social life gradually started to affect her artistic work. When she arrived in America, her productivity decreased, causing her to gradually fade away from the art scene for nearly 20 years. Nevertheless, in 1960, she reemerged in the art world by delving into abstract art with the aim of regaining her renowned status.

Despite receiving a critical yawn in 1962, De Lempicka gave up on painting as a career and never exhibited again. She later moved to Huston and then Luxemburg, eventually settling in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In 1978, she purchased Tres Bambut, a beautiful house in an upscale neighborhood. By this time, De Lempicka had become severely ill and passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 18, 1980. Her ashes were scattered over Mt. Popocatepetl, an active volcano. Although she was gone, De Lempicka’s art continued to thrive. In the 1990s, her uncredited artwork from the 1960s was rediscovered and experienced a tremendous surge in popularity. Barbara Streisand sold many of her works, including Adam and Eve, for over 1.5 million dollars.

De Lempicka, an extraordinary artist, had an exceptional mastery of captivating and distinctive art forms. Her achievements fulfilled her lifelong aspirations and granted her international recognition. Furthermore, she was regarded as a resilient individual who triumphed over the unpredictable circumstances of her fascinating life.

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Tamara de Lempicka: Creativity and Biography. (2018, Nov 18). Retrieved from


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